Lakmé (concert version)
Tue, 23. Mar 2021, 19:30
Léo Delibes [1836 – 1891]
It is not often that an opera enjoys a worldwide surge of popularity a hundred years on from its premiere. The trigger in the case of Léo Delibes’s LAKME was the inclusion of the »flower duet« in a vampire film, »The Hunger«, which even led to the song entering the pop charts. The duet between the eponymous heroine and her servant, which plays in the background to a love scene between Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon, came to outstrip in popularity the work’s two hitherto best-known numbers: the »bell song« and the lilting love duet »C’est le dieu de la jeunesse«. Yet LAKME does not simply attest to Delibes’s talent for writing catchy tunes, as evinced in his triumphant ballets SYLVIA and COPPELIA; it is also one of the finest examples of exoticism in music. The tale of a young Hindu priestess, who falls in love with a colonial officer from England and meets death as a result, makes for great opera and still tugs at heartstrings today.
The part of Lakmé has always been the preserve of the great French coloratura sopranos. Now it is the turn of Jodie Devos, one of highest-profile exponents of this sub-genre, to follow in the footsteps of Lily Pons, Mado Robin, Mady Mesplé and Natalie Dessay. Devos, a winner of the Brussels Reine Elisabeth music competition, has excelled particularly in French-speaking roles such as Olympia in LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN and Zerbinetta in ARIADNE ON NAXOS. Her opposite number, the part of Gerald, is sung by Javier Camarena, one of the most sought-after bel canto tenors of our times.
Opera in three acts
Libretto by Edmond Gondinet and Philippe Gille, based on Pierre Loti's novel „Rarahu ou Le Mariage de Loti“
First performed on 14th April, 1883 at the Opéra-Comique in Paris
Premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 20th March, 2021 (concert version)